Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan defended herself a day after the Supreme Court questioned the absence of Leader of Opposition ( LoP), saying the court's observations were not against her.
Read: Spotlight back on the Cong’s LoP post claim
"The Supreme Court has questioned the Centre on the issue of Lokpal's appointment in the absence of LoP and the Attorney General will inform the court about the government's stand. It has made no observation against the Speaker," she told reporters on Saturday.
Read: LoP needed for other key appointments too
The Speaker defended her decision of not according LoP status to the leader of the Congress party in the House for want of numbers.
"I have taken the decision after studying the rules and traditions and after taking expert opinion. No opposition party has more than 55. Till date the rule that a party should have a minimum of 10 per cent seats in the House for being accorded the status of LoP has not changed," she said.
In any case, Mahajan said, the Opposition exists in the Lok Sabha and is doing its work properly except for the fact that there is no Leader of Opposition.
The Speaker also said in 1980 and 1984 there was no Leader of Opposition in the House because no party had the required strength.
Read: Govt puts on hold new CIC's appointment in absence of LoP
In a significant development, the Supreme Court had on Friday decided to interpret the provision of LoP in Lok Sabha in the matter of selection of statutory bodies when there is no recognised LoP.
Asking the government to make its stand clear within two weeks, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha had emphasised the importance of the post saying the Leader of Opposition conveys the voice different from thegovernment in the House.
Landmark intervention by SC: Congress
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad termed as "landmark" the Supreme Court's saying it will help restore the bipartisan spirit of Indian democracy.
Azad said the NDA government had cited a convention which had "outlived its life" to deny the LoP status to Congress and that it was trying to "subvert" the appointment of various statutory authorities like Lokpal and CVC among others.
"The NDA government has been pretentious in denying the position of the LoP to Congress by giving the issue a different colour only to make explicit its authoritarian tendencies of bulldozing its way through," he said.